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June 20th 2019

More crucian fishing from Gary Cullum:

From: Gary Cullum
Sent: 20 June 2019 22:45
To: Peter Rolfe
Subject: Crucian pool


I'm about to start targeting the 'occasional large crucian' in this one acre pool.

It averages only 2-3 ft in depth and is very silted up with a couple of feet of softish silt. Years of tree leaf debris I assume.

Not as many lilies as I was hoping when I saw the pond last winter. Just a few weak sets of pads round two of the four sides. Quite a few overhanging trees only a couple of feet above surface.

Sadly there are 60 king carp. And they removed another 60 in recent years. Average size 5-9 lbs but one brute of 26 lbs remains. Stacks of bream and small silvers. Some green and golden tench but not caught that often I'm told. A few large perch. 'And some large crucian'.

I visited today and got talking to an 84 year old committee member. Very useful conversation. The banks are severely undercut which attracts some of the larger carp. Not sure it would attract crucian as I assume they'd want to escape any predators in all directions. Oh. Just a few jack pike left. A twenty six pounder, no doubt fat on crucians was moved out some years ago. In time I'll ask if the jacks can be removed. With such a shallow lake I'm sure We could net out half a tonne of small silvers if there are as many as I'm told there are.

So where to start my campaign tomorrow evening? I'm going to fish into dark hoping the silvers are asleep and won't feed much as don't want to attract the bream in - they average 3-4 pounds and there is a head of older fish of around 5-6 pounds. The pond sounds very overstocked to me.

I'm thinking my first few sessions should be around the stronger lily pads. Then if unsuccessful to try under the overhanging trees. But remain close to margin.

The gent today had a couple of crucian last year in a swim with no obvious features though was close to an overhanging conifer. There's a small central island that's eroding by the year, it has a six feet wide gravel bed around it where it's getting washed away. I noticed the feeder chuckers fishing tight to island. But they are match fishermen so assume they are looking for bream and carp.

Apart from watching the surface at dawn and dusk .. any other advice that may help.

The gent today said I'd just missed seeing a two and a half pound crucian. The chap who caught it had three kits set up - a whip, a long pole and a feeder rod so I don't know which line he was fishing when he caught it.

The crucian he caught in the corner last year weighed 3.15 and he 'lost a bigger one at the net the same day.'

He said he'd love to regrow some weed that once frequented the pond and helped during crucian spawning. He named the weed but I've no memory today. I get the impression the crucian are old and dying out.

Once the pond was full of gold bars but owner of huge house and estate in seventies ran into trouble. The gent said he thinks the owner drained or netted the pond and sold all the lucrative big fat gold bars.

The mystery pool The mystery pool The mystery pool The mystery pool The mystery pool

I'm told the crucians are hard to locate and catch. I'll give it my best shot.

Tomorrow's bait is pearl barley in black treacle.

All the best


From: Peter Rolfe
Sent: 21 June 2019 09:49
To: 'Gary Cullum'
Subject: RE: Crucian pool

Well, there's a challenge, Gary! Yes, grossly overstocked, I'd agree.

So that's your problem, avoiding 'the rest'. You've already done what I would do, watching the water for signs of crucian priming. Location is the key, of course. Features are a good place to start. Might be worth targeting the very shallow water if it has colour, which I imagine it has with all those fish.

I'm not surprised that the crucians are few and far between. It's a typical mixed fishery situation, with pike predating them and the silver fish gobbling up or out-competing crucian fry.

Another possibility is that the crus are in fact hybrids, with a reduced likelihood of spawning anyway. Any provenance?

I don't fancy the chance of any weed growing there. Crucians will spawn in lilies, roots and reeds and sedges, though, as well as in soft weed.

Good luck in your quest. Just one proper cru would be an achievement.

Best wishes


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May 9th 2019

Geoff Colmer sent me this facinating tale:

From: Geoff Colmer
Sent: 09 May 2019 10:16
Subject: Snitterfield crucians

Morning Peter,

Tuesday last (7th May 2019) we visited Leamington Spa AA's venue at Snitterfield reservoir in Warwickshire. Never fished here before and I was there as the guest of a member. The entrance to the water is immediately off the busy A46 through locked gates. Beyond the gates is a well-kept single track that runs the whole length of this small reservoir to a parking area at a point furthest from the main road. You are able to stop along the track to unload but you must park in the car park itself. As already said, the water is not that big and the club have built a walkway all around, so any peg will not take that long to reach from the car park. This water is only used for fishing. It can be described as a concrete bowl filled with water: the banks are sloped and the 'banks' of concrete are covered in wild green growth (grass, brambles, moss, etc.). Access to the pegs is pretty good, but it may be unsuitable for those less abled due to the slope. The club have placed wooden platforms at most pegs to allow fishing to be relatively comfortable (and level!).

With rod and fixed spool we began fishing 20 to 25 feet out from the waters' edge using the waggler, 4lb mainline, with size 18 barbless to 1½lb hook length. The water's depth clearly increased the further out you went. I had set-up a 3BB waggler at 10 feet depth, picking up some small tench. When the friendly bailiff came around he advised moving into the margins for the crucians. The margins were free of weed, lily pads, and with the clear water you could easily see the concrete bottom. I then changed my shot pattern for lift bite indications and set the depth at about 2½ feet. I had thrown some pellets beneath the bows of a tree (fishy feature) to my right whilst re-rigging my waggler and by the time of my first cast there was fizzing in the swim. I lowered my small piece of prawn hook bait into the swim and within minutes I hit into a nice crucian. Picked up a few more in quick succession until the weather changed - loss of the warm sun and a coming on of a very chilly wind. After the change in weather the crucians went off the feed, but I did pick-up some small perch and a very large bream. The best crucian of the day (see image) looked in super condition and put up an excellent fight.

Geoff Colmer's fine crucian

The water does include a few large carp, but this is one venue where you can fish for crucians on suitably light tackle. Really enjoyable short day session was had (until it got cold).

Geoff Colmer

From: Peter Rolfe
Sent: 09 May 2019 13:14
To: Geoff Colmer
Subject: RE: Snitterfield crucians

Thanks, Geoff. How interesting. The cru looks to be a female in spawn, though that may be because of the way it's being held.

Best wishes

From: Geoff Colmer
Sent: 09 May 2019 14:38
To: 'Peter Rolfe'
Subject: RE: Snitterfield crucians


Hello there. I was holding this wonderful fish so that its body was forward of its tail, attached is another photo which may clarify things.

Happy for you to use text and images on your website. Venue doesn't need to be kept secret.

My brother (member of water) and I are off to Norfolk in June for a week. We hope to fish Rocklands Mere for crucians during that time.


From: Geoff Colmer
Sent: 29 June 2019 16:50
Subject: Rocklands Mere, Norfolk.


I must admit that, both, my brother and I appreciate those anglers that hunt king carp, but we do not possess a vehicle big enough to transport all the equipment they deign to haul to the bankside. Anyway, that is an aside, we had jointly decided to spend a week in Norfolk float fishing for tench and crucians at a couple of venues, with our digs being in the nice small market town of Wymondham (pronounced 'Wind-am'). This put us within easy reach of Rocklands Mere - a venue we had read much about on the internet.

Getting there. The village of Rockland St. Peter lies a handful of miles north, on the Watton road, off the main A11 (about 25 minutes south-west of Norwich). As you enter the village from the A11 you will see a Builders' merchant on your right and then the village cross where you turn right into Chapel Street. Here, please slow down, as you need to wind through a very pleasant road full of newer homes and older cottages. At a sharp turn in Chapel Street there is the entrance to the fishery. It is signed. The entrance is a long (300 yards) and straight single-track that leads past a small graveyard and farmhouse before reaching the fishery lodge and car park. The fishery opens at 8am (closes at dusk) with space for half a dozen cars or so.

The wooden lodge has a tackle shop (when open) and caters for the trout lake which lies adjacent. If there is no-one in the lodge you can leave your payment in an honesty box by its door. The Mere (coarse lake) is accessed through a small padlocked gate at the end of the car park furthest from the lodge. Please make sure you get the 3-digit code for this padlock, before your visit, as this gate must be kept locked at all times. Once through the gate you cross a wooden walkway and through yet another gate before you reach the Mere (no-more than 20 yards from car park to waters' edge).

I would estimate the Mere to be around half an acre in size. At its widest point it is about 20 yards across and it necks to almost half that in one place. It is about 120 yards long. As you enter from the car park you first reach the largest, deepest at 6-feet, open expanse of water at this venue. The further away from the car park you go the more densely (lily) padded the water becomes and much of this part of the Mere is about 4-feet deep.

It only takes a few minutes to circumnavigate the Mere and check out the numerous swims that are accessible. The bankside is relatively flat and grassed but there is no footpath. Around the waters' edge there are many mature trees and bushes which can restrict casting, so choose wisely before you begin. We fished twice, on a weekday each time, and there was never more than 4 fishing the Mere at any time, so there is plenty of choice in where you can fish.

My brother and I float fished with light tackle on both days - luncheon meat, corn, and prawn. What was clear was there was a lot of fish activity in the swim but these were, mostly, this seasons' fry and we needed to feed hard to get them to stop their interest in our baits. Anyway, we did manage to land some immaculate looking fish, including perch, roach, tench, and crucians. I thought the roach looked marvellous and my best was 1lb 9oz.

We only managed two crucians, with one of 1.5lbs and my personal best was 2lb - a dark coloured beauty. The fishing, here, is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. For sure, when you land a decent fish it may well be your PB, as in my case, but you will have to work hard for such rewards.

Rocklands Mere Rocklands Mere Rocklands Mere

The Mere itself is a beautiful, natural, and tranquil place. Definitely worth the visit.

Geoff Colmer

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